Jeff Cavins really gave us something to think about at Bible Study this morning! The hardest part about being a Christian is forgiveness. But we are called to do that. Jesus showed us the way. Forgiveness is not a feeling, it is a choice of the will. It is okay to acknowledge when we have been hurt and even to bring it the offender’s attention. But then we need to forgive and release. Offer the suffering up in union with Christ and His suffering. Just as God has released us, so he expects us to do that to others. Hmm, I wonder if take the time to process this for anyone that I feel I am holding a grudge with, that muscle spasm in my back will RELEASE.
I love Karol Truman’s book “Feelings Buried Alive Never Die.” If you haven’t read it, she suggests that most of the physical ailments we have are a manifestation of the emotional pain that we have buried. Since I pretty much ate my way through this past Christmas, I would like to highlight the condition of Overweight.
She suggests that being overweight may indicate feelings of insecurity, feelings of self-rejection, wanting to protect the body, seeking love and fulfillment, attempting to fulfill the self, feelings are being stuffed inside, unexpressed, mis-perceived and inappropriate feelings. Well, some of those sure resonate with me. Anyone else? Since I was sexually abused as child during the Christmas season, I am thinking that is why I engorged myself this past yule. And the results of that binge are nasty considering I am co-founder of a wellness company that promotes an amazing Weight Release Program. I should walk the walk, right? Well, I am all the about “WHY” and I want to make my weight release permanent. My goal is to have food be my fuel, not my tool.
So I need to dig deeper. And if you know anything about digging deep, sometimes, it is shitting and smelly. Well I am done burying the pain. Step by step, bite by bite, I long for an “effort free Phase 3.” ( For those not familiar with our program, Phase 3 is regular eating, limited sugars and starches, nothing off limits, but when hungry and in moderation.) The good news is even though some times are dark and difficult, I can always get up and move forward.
Have you had an experience of digger deeper to get to the cause?
Abuse is funny thing. It seems that person abused continues to get abused even after the actual event or events have taken place. It seems to me that when the abused has enough courage to reveal the horror of what happened to him/her, is it assumed that the abused is lying and that the abuser is innocent. Now I know there is a fraction, a much publicized sliver of folks who falsely accuse, who actually have created the situation for the rest of us. But I would venture to guess those that falsely accuse have some issue that they are seeking justice for, they just couldn’t get the right message through.
Other than the few previously mentioned, what does the abused have to gain by letting the “cat out of the bag?”
Peace of mind.
Which is something MasterCard and VISA cannot even come close to- though they market to those who are trying to find it. And that is a lot of us. I recall a bumper sticker that reads: “If you want Peace, work for Justice.” Well, I am not so sure about justice, but I need peace of mind.
I didn’t make everything up.
It isn’t all in my head.
But I have no one’s testimony but my own. And I have plenty to argue against me, and have been.
But I am grateful for the analogy the Lord has given me. If you have ever watched a boat go by, there is a wake in the water that follows it. A wake that travels longer and wider than the boat itself. If you missed the boat going by, but see the wake, you know that the boat has been by even though you missed that actual watercraft. The evidence of the wake proves the presence of the boat. That is how it is with me. No one saw any boats go by. But the wake of the sexual abuses that I have experienced is still rippling in the water to this day. So my conscious mind takes that as proof.
The mind is a powerful thing. As is the body. Or more specifically, body memory. If the world denies the abuse that the body and mind, conscious or subconscious, knows occurred, there is further abuse and the abused is further traumatized. So where is the justice and where is the peace? Not so sure about the justice for me at this point as I cannot afford any court battles, but I am looking for peace of mind.
I would venture to guess that those that don’t find it don’t stay on this earth for long. It is too painful. Where’s the justice there? But maybe they have peace. The God I know is merciful and Just. So I have to continue to trust that justice will eventually be done.
His Perfect Justice.
Which also brings His Peace.
Each path the Lord leads us on prepares us for the one that follows, but always remember it is a journey closer to Him.
I have to smile as I compare this journey with the game Chutes and Ladders.
Some acts of healing, behavior changes and progress get us closer to Him quickly but just as easily, if we are not careful, we can slide down and fall back. One good thing though, we are all winners and can reach him. Some of us just take longer, that’s all.
I keep jerking it back, thinking there is some kind of battle going on. But I am the only one pulling. He is just holding on trying to take it away from me when I am ready to get rid of it. Because that is what has been tripping me up.
The rope was very strong and long and wound up all around me, sometimes making me trip and other times not even able to move. He would gently pull the rope to get me loose. But because of the way I was tangled up, sometimes it would cause me to spin around, get dizzy and even fall. The rope even would cause burns on my skin it was so tight.
But He has been gentle and faithful. He knew when I was strong enough to pull it away and when I needed to rest. Sometimes I was even able to help Him get me untangled. But now all that is left of the rope is what remains in my hands and I keep tightening the grip and sometimes jerk it back and even wind myself up in it. That gives Him rope burns. And I feel bad about that. I keep thinking that we are in a battle over this rope. But this rope has been keeping me in bondage. It has been preventing me from being free. And He has been trying to help rid me of this constriction.
But I am nervous and a little afraid. It sometimes feels good to have the rope tight against my skin and as weird as it sounds, the rope burns serve their purpose of self punishment. Gentleness and Love are somewhat different for me. As the rope has been unwrapped from my body, I am getting more and more used to the different feeling, but I am afraid to let go of the end of the rope. What will happen to me? The rope was my lifeline for a very, very long time. Not a healthy one I know, but something to hold on to none-the-less. His Truth tells me He is Faithful. His Truth tells me He wants what is best for me.
I am a little sad as I watch the rope fall to the ground and slide away. It’s just me now. Breathe, Just Breathe. But I am thinking I actually will have quite a bit of strength now as I don’t have to be using all my strength to grip the rope to keep it on my side. It’s not really a war if I am the only one fighting.
So when I started this lenten journey and even before that when I named this blog “shedding my second skin” I thought it was about losing weight and being comfortable with me- not needing to be protected with physical fatty layering.
Well, I am discovering that my second skin was somewhat made of plastic. Very sturdy, impenetrable material.I took a risk writing personal reflections on my Lenten journey and am allowing pieces, sometimes pretty big pieces of my plastic shell to break away. I feel vulnerable, and human. And people are responding much more to my lenten journey blogs than the ones I wrote to be specifically motivational. Ironic that I decided to just write reflections and not worry about motivating folks- that people are actually finding my reflections inspirational. Who woulda thunk it? Not me, that’s for sure.
The more vulnerable and human I am, the more plastic skin I allow to chip away, the more positive response I get. Thanks.
Do you have a second skin? What is it made of?
I’ve been reflecting on the idea of being Poor in Spirit. It is surrendering my will to Him.
But that doesn’t mean I am powerless. It is taking the gifts He has given me and opening my hands and saying- Help me make the most of this that I can. I may be able to do good things, but He can do INCREDIBLE things.
I am picturing myself accepting a brown bag at the grocery store that is filled to the top. I get home, unpack everything on the counter and thing of what I can do with everything there.
If I turn and look at the “MASTER CHEF,” He rubs His hands together, smiles and says, “Let’s try this…” His large frame towers behind me as He wraps His arms around my wounded frame and we together create this masterpiece. If I try to prematurely grab something that I think would be good, I sense Him gently smiling and shaking His head no. The more we work together, I begin to sense what ingredients He needs. I begin reaching for those and His eyes beam with love and pride that we are working in union. It is effortless, invigorating and fulfilling.
Have you had any experience when you surrendered to God’s guiding hand?
Fr. Dennis confirmed what Jeff Cavins had taught in our Bible Study of the Book of Matthew: Being poor in spirit is the foundation for the other Beatitudes. It calls for humility. We have to admit that we are nothing without God. I finally understand that. So I question myself: Am I poor in spirit? What does that mean to be humble? I struggle with some that I see who seem to have false humility, but then, who am I to judge their hearts? I guess that means I am still have work to do on myself.
Being a victim of sexual abuse, I have needed to be in control as much of it had been taken from me most of my life. So this surrender to God means I have to trust him, right? It has taken a long time for me to do that.
Do you trust God?
We are studying the book of James and author Jeff Cavins had some interesting insights that I felt could relate to my struggle with food. James tells us that temptation comes from within. God doesn’t tempt us. The source of our temptation comes from our own desires. We need to interrupt temptation with wisdom. We need to pursue Him when we are tempted and flee from the temptation. The nature of sin is that it appears like something good. And if we are not careful, we end up choosing the “natural” and forfeiting the supernatural. For example, our desire may be to fit in, so we maybe we end up making fun of someone so we can belong to “the” group, instead of resisting the temptation to gossip and moving beyond that and growing closer to the One who can be with us that we never feel alone. We chose things that lead to comfort but those things may not be the best way to fulfill our desire. St. Augustine wrote that we want something good but sometimes we go about it all wrong. If we don’t resist temptation, we can become addicted to the easy comfort, bad habits form, we start seeing evil as good, rationalize.
That’s where God and His mercy comes into play. In the midst of our sin, or even addictions at times, He loves us so much that He won’t let us continue that way. Things may happen that cause us to look at what we have created and change our focus to the Creator.
So the next time we struggle with temptation, ask: “What is the natural good that I am looking for in these things?”
Sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice the natural for the supernatural. But be assured that Divine Power gushes forth in our weakness.
And another cool things is that in the suffering of the sacrifice, God can redeem it, as we can assign the sufferings of the sacrifice to a cause.
So that brings me to my temptation with food. My addiction to food?
What is the natural good that I am looking for in food? The answers vary. Sometimes I want to just relax- sit down and EAT. Sometimes I want to escape, numb the pain of the my heart. EAT and not think. Food is my easy, natural answer. What is my supernatural answer? If I want to relax, I could sit without music, TV, both feet on the floor, meditate, pray, journal, take a cat nap. Supernatural choices. If I want to numb the pain in my heart, I could use my YL oils, I could read the bible, pray, journal, cry, actually cry. Hmmm. Lots of choices. And each time His mercy is ready and waiting. Wow. Now that’s Supernatural for you. Worth the sacrifice.
Vicki Dau and her husband Tom are the founders of TeamDau Wellness, partners on your journey to optimal health.
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Lord, I pray for the strength and courage to live out these difficult circumstances that we face now. I pray for hope and healing. Please help me to use food as nourishment, not as comfort and help me to see myself as you see me.
In your Son, Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen